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Wuhan subsidises direct shipping to Taiwan

25 September 2013
Wuhan government will promote direct shipping to Taiwan, to be launched on 29 September, by offering Rmb300 for each container on top of a subsidy of Rmb50,000 for each journey completed on time, according to a story published in Hubei Daily.

Officials from Wuhan New Port Authorities, representing the provincial government, said that operators on the Luzhou-Wuhan-Shanghai-Taiwan route will be financially assisted on condition that the vessel reaches Keelung on time and carries at least 50 containers from Wuhan. The subsidies will be in place for two years to allow operators to attract a following. The journey time between Wuhan and Keelung is expected to be halved to five days.

The entire journey from Luzhou to Keelung will take 16 days, according to Sichuan Port Authorities in a June press release. Operators on the route will be granted priority in passing the Three Gorges and the low waters immediately downstream. All containers will tranship in Wuhan where a bigger vessel, 5,000dwt or larger capable of sailing on the river and the sea, will journey to Taiwan directly.

The twice-weekly service is a direct route, according to Wuhan officials, so the stop at Shanghai’s Waigaoqiao is likely to be for fuelling before sailing in the open sea.

According to figures released by the port authorities, Wuhan’s trade with Taiwan amounted to US$800m last year, but only 10 per cent of the city’s exports and 5 per cent of its imports were transported via the waterway. Sichuan government will encourage manufacturers of products such as automobiles, construction machinery, electronics and chemicals to use the service. But it is not clear if they are putting up subsidies of any kind.

The two provincial port authorities agreed in February to launch this regular service for mutual benefit.

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